NFL players union files lawsuit challenging Peterson suspension

Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:16pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the National Football League on Monday challenging an arbitrator's decision to uphold the league's suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Filed at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the lawsuit claims arbitrator Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive hand-picked by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the case, was not impartial.

Henderson on Friday upheld Goodell's unpaid suspension of Peterson until at least April 15, saying Peterson "has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent."

Peterson, 29, pled no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge last month for injuring his 4-year-old son in May while disciplining him with a wooden switch.

After the no-contest plea, Goodell ruled that Peterson, the NFL's most valuable player in 2012, will not be allowed back on the field until April 15 at the earliest.

When the NFLPA filed an appeal, Goodell chose Henderson, a former NFL executive vice president of labor relations, to hear the case. Henderson has heard 87 appeals involving personal conduct and drug issues.

Peterson, in appealing Goodell's suspension, claimed he had been told by NFL executive Troy Vincent that he would only be suspended two games.

ABC News released audio tape on Monday of a Nov. 12 telephone conversation Peterson had with Vincent, concerning how long Peterson would be kept off the field.   Continued...

Suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (L) exits following his hearing against the NFL over his punishment for child abuse, in  New York December 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid